Baseball holds home field, wins weekend series 2-1

first_imgThe baseball team welcomed Wake Forest to Dedeaux Field this weekend, and the Trojans nabbed their first series win of the season to push their record above .500.The No. 21 Trojans took down the Demon Deacons 2-1 in the three-game series winning the first one 9-4 before dropping a 4-5 loss on Saturday. USC finished strong though with a 2-1 performance Sunday afternoon.The team still sat even with a 3-3 record  when Sunday rolled around for the series finale. Senior Brent Wheatley took the mound, and the right-hander locked horns with Wake Forest sophomore Drew Loepprich in a pitchers duel. Wheatley turned in six strong innings of work, scattering one run, three hits and two walks throughout while striking out six batters, and the Trojans and Demon Deacons remained knotted at one run apiece through the top of the eighth inning.USC finally broke the deadlock in the bottom of the eighth. Senior outfielder David Oppenheim drew a one-out walk and redshirt junior Reggie Southall was put in as a pinch-runner. He promptly swiped second base and moved to third on a ground ball from junior catcher Jeremy Martinez, and Oppenheim scored on a wild pitch to push the Trojans in front. A clean inning from senior closer Marc Huberman sealed a 2-1 USC win and the team’s first series win of the season.Head coach Dan Hubbs praised his players’ fighting spirit when facing a pitcher who was on his game.“I was proud of them for grinding out a game,” Hubbs said. “We put up some runs over the first two days, and then we showed we could win a 2-1 game.”After a tough outing to begin his season last weekend, Wheatley said he took a simplified approach into Sunday’s start, and it paid dividends.“I had a different mentality,” he said. “I was just trying to throw hard and make good pitches.”Two games led up to Sunday’s deciding contest. Senior pitcher Kyle Davis toed the rubber for the Trojans to kick off the series on Friday, and the veteran right-hander turned in seven strong innings, however, he allowed four runs in a sloppy fifth inning. Martinez and freshman centerfielder Lars Nootbaar had big nights at the plate as the USC bats backed up their ace in a 9-4 win.“We saw the fastball a lot, and we took advantage of it,” Nootbaar said.Martinez, who smashed his first home run of the season on Friday, also tipped his hat to associate head coach Matt Curtis for preparing the offense for the Demon Deacons’ pitchers.“Give a lot of credit to coach Curtis,” Martinez said. “We had a scouting report … so I was just trying to stay inside, put a good swing, and [the ball] just happened to run right into my barrel.”Junior pitcher Bernardo Flores started game two, and like Davis the night before, fought through one tough inning but was sharp otherwise, allowing four runs across six frames of work. Flores left the game with the score knotted at four thanks to a game-tying solo shot from sophomore third baseman Adalberto Carrillo— his second of the season. Redshirt junior Joe Navilhon replaced Flores and struck out the side in order in his first inning of relief.After cruising through two innings, however, Navilhon ran into trouble in the top of the ninth. The right-hander made an errant throw to first base on a leadoff bunt attempt, and freshman first baseman Dillon Paulson dropped the throw from Carrillo on the subsequent sacrifice bunt.Senior pitcher Brooks Kriske then entered the game to try to put out the fire, but Martinez fired a low throw past Carrillo trying to pick off the runner at third, scoring the go-ahead run. The Trojans committed three errors in one inning and were unable to rally in the bottom of the ninth, dropping a 4-5 contest to set up Sunday’s deciding game.Although he was disappointed with the ninth inning fiasco, Hubbs said it shouldn’t have come down to that at all.“That’s not where the game was lost,” Hubbs said. “The game was lost when we left 14 guys on base. We had all sorts of opportunities to score a lot of runs, and we didn’t.”It is still early in the season, however, and Hubbs said his squad, carrying high expectations, just needed to settle down.“A lot of guys did some good things,” Hubbs said. “We just have to have some guys be able to relax in the moment and get it done.”Next up, the Trojans hit the road on Tuesday for a tough tilt against Long Beach State before a weekend that includes hosting Oklahoma and Mississippi State as well as the annual game against UCLA at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.last_img read more

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MFM Maintains Winning Streak in Final Six

first_imgOn Sunday, MFM upset Nigeria Customs 58-57 in the opening match of the Final Six to the surprise of the spectators who were expecting a blow out for the new entrants.It was a tension soaked encounter in which the Customs led for the better part of the duration but the MFM ladies took over when it mattered most to win with just one point margin. The victory was the third recorded by the team just a single point margin.Only yesterday, Coach Aderemi Adewunmi said he was proud of his players recording two wins in their first two games of the Final Six.“Nobody expected us to be in the Final Six and now that we are here the girls are getting getter and winning games. I simply urged them to go on and enjoy themselves but they were just determined to win.“I am so happy with their professionalism and discipline. This is good for the sport and we look forward to better tidings in the competition,” coach Aderemi said.MFM defeated First Deepwater in the crucial final match in Enugu to qualify for the final phase of the competition in Lagos.The Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Peter Amangbo, said the competition would get better every year“We are happy with the progress made so far and we are very optimistic that we will take women basketball to the next level in Nigeria because the signs are there that things can only get better at continental and global levels,” Amangbo said.The competition continues today and it ends on Thursday at the national Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram ZENITH BANK WOMEN’S B’BALL LEAGUEThe new entrant into the National Women Basketball League, the Mountain of Fire Basketball Club, on Monday completed a back-to-back victory in their first ever appearance in the final phase of the competition.In the abridged format which is n a home and away basis, the MFM ladies defeated Nigeria Customs in the reverse fixture 56-49 in the Final Six which started on Sunday at the Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.last_img read more

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Earliest Galaxy Points Out Flaws in Secular Cosmology

first_img(Visited 36 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 More evidence points to a fully-formed universe very soon after the beginning.Using the magnifying glass of a gravitational lens, astronomers at Johns Hopkins University have located “a galaxy dating back to a mere 500 million years after the big bang,” reported Science Magazine (Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, “Warped Light Reveals Infant Galaxy on the Brink of the ‘Cosmic Dawn’,” Science 21 September 2012: Vol. 337 no. 6101 p. 1442, DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6101.1442).   The discovery was announced in the  rival journal across the pond, Nature (Wei Zheng et al., “A magnified young galaxy from about 500 million years after the Big Bang,” Nature 489, 20 September 2012, pp. 406–408, doi:10.1038/nature11446).This is the latest of a trend to find mature structures closer and closer to the big bang – leaving cosmologists little time to go from random particles to “lumpy” structures like stars and galaxies (see links in commentary below).  This galaxy’s redshift (z = 9.6) is a record, indicating it existed close to the beginning: “Light from the primordial galaxy traveled approximately 13.2 billion light-years before reaching NASA’s telescopes,” PhysOrg stated. “In other words, the starlight snagged by Spitzer and Hubble left the galaxy when the universe was just 3.6 percent of its present age.”  Even so, the galaxy was estimated by the astronomers at 200 million years old.  This implies its formation was even earlier.  The original paper in Nature said,We estimate that it formed less than 200 million years after the Big Bang (at the 95 per cent confidence level), implying a formation redshift of ≲14. Given the small sky area that our observations cover, faint galaxies seem to be abundant at such a young cosmic age, suggesting that they may be the dominant source for the early re-ionization of the intergalactic medium.Modern cosmological theory places an “epoch of re-ionization” after the first generation of stars that ionized the interstellar medium.  Something with enough energy broke up the hydrogen gas into protons and electrons.  Nature‘s paper was pretty straightforward, explaining how the discovery was made and the math used to determine its redshift, etc.  But Science Magazine took the occasion to point out substantial gaps in current cosmological theory:In the timeline of cosmic evolution, the galaxy represents an era that is still filled with mystery. The universe was a soup of hot plasma for a few hundred thousand years after the big bang. Then the electrons and protons in the soup combined to form hydrogen. The first stars and galaxies are believed to have been born some 300 million years after the big bang. Over the next 700 million years or so, something re ionized the universe, breaking its hydrogen back into electrons and protons.Studies of the cosmic microwave background have broadly confirmed this timeline. But key early details are missing, including what led to the reionization. Many astrophysicists have suggested that ultra violet (UV) radiation from early galaxies may have played an important role.Nature probably did not have time to incorporate the latest findings from the South Pole Telescope, reported by PhysOrg.  Astronomers now put the epoch of re-ionization earlier and shorter than previously thought – between 250 and 500 million years after the big bang, not 750 or more.  Assuming stars were involved in the re-ionization, this implies “First Stars, Galaxies Formed More Rapidly Than Expected.”  The article explained the implications:The epoch’s short duration indicates that reionization was more explosive than scientists had previously thought. It suggests that massive galaxies played a key role in reionization, because smaller galaxies would have formed much earlier.But if massive galaxies played a key role, it compresses the time available for the first stars to form, the first dwarf galaxies to form, and then the massive galaxies to form.  The early birds must have been awesome.  They had to be in order to have the energy required for the re-ionization epoch: “The first stars that formed were probably 30 to 300 times more massive than the sun and millions of times as bright, burning for only a few million years before exploding.”The trend over the last decade has been for observations to exacerbate the lumpiness problem in cosmology (the puzzle that a smooth beginning produced stars, galaxies, clusters, superclusters and other “lumpy” objects, separated by large voids of empty space).  Follow the trend with these previous entries:5/30/01: Cosmologists still lack many basic answers.  How did galaxies form?  “The details are devilishly difficult to understand.”6/05/01: Quasar 800 million years after big bang.  It’s going to turn a great number of astronomical theories on their head and confirm others.”1/08/02: Universe began with fireworks grand finale.  The idea that “the fireworks ran backwards… is not at all intuitively what one would have predicted.”1/23/04:  Should cosmologists get worried yet?  “It’s not quite time for theorists to panic, but we’re getting there,” said astronomer Roberto Abraham of the University of Toronto, Canada, after announcing his group’s discovery of a startling number of mature galaxies in the young universe.”10/14/05: Old man in the stellar maternity ward.  “These chunky babies may be pointing to a cosmic crisis.  They don’t seem to fit the leading theory of galaxy formation, which cosmologists have relied on for more than 2 decades….”8/18/06: Early spiral resembles Milky Way.  It is also puzzling that the most massive galaxies were more abundant and were forming stars more rapidly at early epochs than expected from models.”9/24/06: Mature galaxy 700 million years after big bang. “The simplest explanation is that the Universe is just too young to have built up many luminous galaxies at z approximately ~7-8 by the hierarchical merging of small galaxies.”12/08/09: Hubble Ultra Deep Field.  “600 million years after the Big Bang.  No galaxies have been seen before at such early times.”12/17/10: Whopping celestial baby boom revealed in early universe. “The new glimpse of such a productive early universe – seen as it looked 3 billion years after the Big Bang – may change the way scientists think about star formation.”3/09/11: Young galaxy cluster already mature.  “Surprise!  Ancient Galaxy Cluster Still Looks Young.”4/14/11: Mature galaxy with old stars 950 million years after big bang pushes star formation earlier, suggests “that the first galaxies have been around for a lot longer than previously thought.”6/17/11: Clumpiness of distant universe surprises astronomers: twice the clumpiness per unit distance found than was predicted.1/11/12: Cosmologists forced to “In the Beginning.”  — “serious threats to our existing understanding of the cosmos.”Other examplesLook through the Cosmology links for other examples.  Upsets are common, confirmations of theory are not.  Secular cosmologists did not expect to find early maturity, like old men in a maternity ward — but they did.  Remember these stories when someone tries to pull a scientism bluff on you.last_img read more

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New risk management options for Ohio apple, grape and tomato growers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the expansion of crop insurance to provide additional options for fruit and nut producers. The Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion are now available to cover fresh fruit in select Ohio counties beginning with the 2016 crop year.“In a number of counties in Ohio producers are growing apples, grapes and tomatoes and are wondering if they will have the same opportunity to manage their risk as corn and soybean producers. I am pleased to say they will have that opportunity. We are extending in 12 counties in Ohio for apples, three counties for grapes and 11 counties for tomatoes the opportunity to sign up for the SCO for coverage,” said Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary. “This allows them to go above and beyond traditional crop insurance coverage option and gives them more production.”This is in addition to the alfalfa seed, canola, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forage production, grass seed, mint, oats, onions, and rye that were recently made available for 2016 as well. Currently, SCO covers corn, cotton, cottonseed, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, spring barley, spring wheat, and winter wheat in selected counties.SCO is an area-based policy endorsement that can be purchased to supplement an underlying crop insurance policy. It covers a portion of losses not covered by the same crop’s underlying policy. USDA’s Risk Management Agency, which administers the federal crop insurance program, has posted information on the expanded program, including where SCO is available by crop and county. Visit www.rma.usda.gov/news/currentissues/sco/index.html to learn more.In addition, producers of apples, tomatoes, and grapes, peaches, potatoes, prunes, safflower, tomatoes, and walnuts in select counties will have the option to elect the APH Yield Exclusion for the 2016 crop year.“We are announcing for apples, tomatoes and grapes the opportunity in several Ohio counties to expand the annual production history exclusion. That allows the to drop a poor year out of the calculations so they can provide better protection for their crop,” Vilsack said. “The announcement we are making are for the 2016 crop year for these crops so they have plenty of time to plan and evaluate for next year.”Alfalfa seed, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forage production, oats, onions, rye and winter wheat are also eligible in certain counties beginning with the 2016 crop year. These are in addition to barley, canola, corn, cotton, grain sorghum, peanuts, popcorn, rice, soybeans, sunflowers and spring wheat, which were offered beginning in the 2015 crop year.The APH Yield Exclusion allows farmers, with qualifying crops in eligible counties, to exclude low yields in exceptionally bad years (such as a year in which a natural disaster or other extreme weather occurs) from their production history when calculating yields used to establish their crop insurance coverage. Crop years are eligible when the average per planted acreage yield for the county was at least 50% below the simple average for the previous 10 consecutive crop years. It will allow eligible producers to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program.Producers also have access to new online tools designed to help them determine the options that work best for their operations. The Crop Insurance Decision Tool and the SCO/APH Yield Exclusion mapping tool, available online, provide farmers with information on APH Yield Exclusion and SCO eligible crops, crop years, and counties where they may elect the programs. This user-friendly resource can help producers quickly explore and understand available coverage options. Users will get general estimates to help them make purchasing decisions. Producers should consult their crop insurance agent for detailed information, sales closing dates and an actual premium quote.A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the Risk Management Agency’s agent locator. Growers can use the agency’s cost estimator to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online. Visit the Risk Management Agency at www.rma.usda.gov/news/currentissues/aphye/index.html to learn more about SCO and APH Yield Exclusion.APH Yield Exclusion and SCO are made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing, and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.last_img read more

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How to break records: Play against India. Just as England did with a record last-wicket partnership between Joe Root and James Anderson at Trent Bridge

first_imgJoe Root celebrates his ton with James Anderson during their world record stand at Trent Bridge.There’s a certain dread that comes with diehard sports fandom: the dread of having your heart broken by those you consider heroes; the dread of not just defeat, but embarrassment at the pinnacle of,Joe Root celebrates his ton with James Anderson during their world record stand at Trent Bridge.There’s a certain dread that comes with diehard sports fandom: the dread of having your heart broken by those you consider heroes; the dread of not just defeat, but embarrassment at the pinnacle of sport. No one knows this better than Indian cricket fans.The world record last-wicket partnership between Joe Root and James Anderson at Trent Bridge that frustrated India on the third and fourth days of the first Test was just the latest chapter in that book of dread. For 53.2 overs and 198 runs, England’s most reliable youngster and a dogged No. 11 kept India’s hitherto threatening seam attack at bay. Mind you, Anderson’s last international outing had seen him block his team to the virtual safety of a draw, only to be dismissed off the penultimate ball of the match, thereby handing a historic series victory to Sri Lanka. And yet, no Indian could dislodge him for 230 minutes, 130 balls and 81 fine runs.Rewind a few months. On the tour of New Zealand in February, in the second Test, India took 15 Kiwi wickets for 286 runs with an attack similar to the one they are fielding now. But from 94 for five in the second innings, the home side went on to score 680 for eight declared, with skipper Brendon McCullum and B.J. Watling putting on a world record sixth-wicket stand of 352 runs-in the process, McCullum hit the first triple ton by a Kiwi-and No. 8 Jimmy Neesham also striking an unbeaten hundred. These aren’t even the most embarrassing chapters in the book of dread.advertisementFor that you need to go back to August 1997 and Colombo. India posted 537 for eight declared, and removed Marvan Atapattu with Sri Lanka on 39. What followed, as any Indian fan will tell you with a wince, is the biggest score in Test history-952 for six declared-and the highest second-wicket partnership ever of 576 runs between Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama. Jayasuriya’s 340 was then the second-highest score by an opener in Tests, and as he belted them, the largely, experimental Indian attack had nowhere to hide.Further back, there is Graham Gooch’s feat in the Lord’s Test of 1990. Not only did he send India on a leather hunt with his first innings 333, he followed it up with 123 in the second innings to claim the record for the highest single-match aggregate score.All these records have come overseas, which is hardly surprising considering India have always defended their home turf with a bit more pluck. Also, despite some infamous collapses, Indian batsmen have largely kept up their end of the bargain, or, at the least, not let it fall to embarrassing standards.The 42 all out at Lord’s in 1974 or the 100 and 66 at Durban in 1996 are mere aberrations that don’t really plumb the depths of despondency. In fact, the only world record of note that Indian batsmen have contributed to is Ajantha Mendis’s mark of 26 wickets in a three-Test debut series in 2008.So, what is it about Indian bowlers that makes batsmen queue up as if at a free buffet? It’s no secret that India has never produced a steady stream of quality bowlers. For every Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, there has been a multitude of impressive domestic bowlers who have failed to make the highest grade. Part of the reason is the historical lack of an out-and-out quick who can run through a line-up. Indian pacers and spinners alike tend to rely on out-thinking and outfoxing batsmen, so on flat wickets (by overseas standards), they have nowhere to hide.Indian bowling line-ups also tended to be one-dimensional. In the pre-Kapil era, the team relied on spin; when the swing era of Kapil and Manoj Prabhakar followed, quality spinners were lacking.Now, it’s three medium pacers plus bowling all-rounders, none of whom bowl above 140 kmph consistently. The other factor is that oft-mentioned lack of killer instinct, which afflicts bowlers as well as many captains. For all of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s innovations, he gets defensive easily. Ditto Sachin Tendulkar, who was the leader when Sri Lanka set that record in 1997.In fact, the only time bowlers have gone shoulder-to-shoulder with their batsmen, they helped shape the golden era of Indian Test cricket. With Srinath, Zaheer and sundry others manning the pace department and Harbhajan and Kumble handling spin, the captaincies of Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Kumble himself brought positive results and avoided embarrassments abroad.It’s probably no coincidence that these captains were aggressive and knew when and how to go for the kill.- Follow the writer on Twitter @11shreyasadvertisementTo read more, get your copy of India Today here.last_img read more

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McCann, A-Rod HR, Yanks Win

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares NEW YORK — Facing a pitcher who has always had their number, the New York Yankees struck for a sudden rally.Brian McCann and Alex Rodriguez hit back-to-back homers off All-Star Chris Archer that sent the Yankees past the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 on Sunday.“Archer’s one of the best pitchers in the game,” McCann said. “He’s right up at the top and when you can scratch and claw and come back and get a win like that, it was huge.”Ivan Nova pitched six solid innings to help the Yankees take two of three in the series. New York, which leads the American League wild-card chase, remained 1 1/2 games behind first-place Toronto in the AL East.The Blue Jays beat Baltimore 10-4.On a picture-perfect afternoon in the Bronx, Archer was doing what he’s always done — dominate the Yankees. The 26-year-old righty, who had never lost to New York, kept hitters off balance with a slider that opposing manager Joe Girardi suggested might be the best in the game.That was, until the sixth inning. After the first 18 Yankees batters were held to one hit, New York finally broke through and erased a 3-0 deficit.Archer (12-11) got two outs sandwiched around Jacoby Ellsbury’s single, but then began having trouble with his control. Following a walk to Carlos Beltran, McCann drove a 3-1 pitch deep into the right-center bleachers to tie the score at 3 — his career-high 25th home run.“We were sleepwalking there about five innings and Archer basically dominated us,” Rodriguez said. “Mac has been huge all year.”Archer, who had allowed only one home run in eight previous starts against New York, saw his very next pitch to Rodriguez also wind up in the seats, giving the Yankees 4-3 lead.“I didn’t execute in the biggest moment of the game,” said Archer, who entered 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA against the Yankees. “Am I disappointed? Of course. We need to win every single game.”New York added a run in the seventh when Didi Gregorius scored on a throwing error by second baseman Logan Forsythe.Asdrubal Cabrera closed the gap to 5-4 with an eighth-inning homer just inside the right-field foul pole off Dellin Betances. New York made it 6-4 in the bottom half when September call-up Rico Noel scored his first career run on Gregorius’ single.Nova (6-7) had trouble commanding his breaking ball early in the game but settled down nicely. He yielded three runs and six hits to stop a three-start losing streak.Andrew Miller stranded two runners in the ninth for his 31st save in 32 attempts.Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run homer off Nova in the second on a hanging curve. Forsythe added an RBI single in the third.ANOTHER MILESTONERodriguez’s single in the eighth was his 3,053rd hit, tying Rod Carew for 23rd place on the career list. “Rod was very good to me early in my career when he was a hitting coach with the Angels and I was a young lad with the Mariners,” Rodriguez said. “So I really have a lot of respect and appreciation for Mr. Carew.”TRAINER’S ROOMRays: OF Steven Souza Jr. (broken left hand) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham on Saturday night, going 2 for 4 with a run as the DH. Souza is scheduled to play in the Bulls’ final two games of the season as well. … 3B Evan Longoria, who left Saturday’s game with a bruised right forearm after being hit by a pitch, was in the starting lineup.Yankees: CC Sabathia is tentatively scheduled to start Wednesday night against Baltimore. Sabathia, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 24, will wear a brace on his right knee going forward. The 35-year-old lefty threw a bullpen on Sunday and said that he felt fine afterward. “The plan is on Wednesday but I want to make sure he gets through everything,” Girardi said. “He felt good yesterday and we’ll make sure he feels good after his bullpen.”UP NEXTRays: Tampa Bay heads to Detroit, sending LHP Drew Smyly (2-2, 3.11 ERA) to the mound against his former club in the series opener Monday. He faces journeyman Randy Wolf (0-3, 6.11). The 39-year-old Wolf, acquired from Toronto on Aug. 20, makes his fourth start for the Tigers after spending most of the season at Triple-A.Yankees: New York welcomes the Orioles to town for a three-game set, opening with RHP Michael Pineda (10-8, 4.07) on Monday. Pineda is coming off of a strong outing in Boston, where he earned the win after three straight defeats. Baltimore counters with lefty Wei-Yin Chen (8-7, 3.36), who leads the staff in ERA and has won four of his last five decisions.SCOTT ORGERA, Associated Presslast_img read more

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Elton John Writes OpEd For New York Times

first_imgAn op-ed by Elton John AIDS Foundation founder Sir Elton John has been published by the New York Times.Elton’s op-ed, “Don’t Forget About AIDS,” celebrates the victories that have been won in the march to achieve marriage equality for same-sex couples and calls on the LGBT community to bring that same creativity and dedication back to the effort to end AIDS.“As engaged as the gay community and civil rights activists have been in the fight for marriage equality, we have lost ground on the fight that so intensely galvanized the gay community to begin with: HIV/AIDS,” Elton writes. “Thirty years after the AIDS epidemic began, rates of infection are still at unacceptable levels.“I came out publicly in 1976, just before the beginning of the AIDS crisis. The gay community I inhabited in those years never dreamed of marriage equality — we simply wanted to live, and to stop the terrible epidemic that kept killing our loved ones. We’ve come a long way. But as we celebrate these victories, we must also come together and redouble our efforts to end H.I.V. Only then will we truly have won freedom and equality.”To read the full op-ed, click here.Source:Elton John AIDS Foundationlast_img read more

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The Most Talented College Football Team In History

Two days after Thanksgiving, the Miami Hurricanes closed out another mediocre regular season with what the Miami Herald called a “dismal downer” of a game. They never led Pitt in the 35-23 defeat, and many UM faithful streamed out of Sun Life Stadium with almost an entire quarter left to play. Miami will appear in a postseason game this month because it has a just technically bowl-eligible 6-6 record (and it’s a well-known university). But the Duck Commander Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, is not exactly a destination befitting a program that was once college football royalty.Cycles of boom and bust, however, are nothing new in Coral Gables. This Saturday, ESPN is airing “The U Part 2,” a “30 for 30” by director Billy Corben that follows up on his 2009 documentary about the Hurricanes’ dominant, lawless football program of the 1980s. The sequel explores the process that rebuilt the scandal-ridden team into what would become, statistically, the most talented — if not quite the most dominant — team in college football history.Before the Hurricanes came back from the brink, they were as low as they are now. Miami’s mid-to-late 1990s deterioration reached its nadir at the end of 1997, the program’s first losing season in 18 years. When the final whistle blew on that campaign, Miami had a +3.8 Elo rating,1According to an Elo-like modification of ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) developed by FiveThirtyEight’s editor in chief, Nate Silver. which means Miami would have been favored by just 3.8 points against an average FBS team on a neutral field. To use 2014 teams as a comparison, Miami was the equivalent of this year’s Colorado State or Navy teams — a far cry from their dominant squads of the 1980s and early 1990s. (Although this year’s team is even worse, with a rating of +2.0.)This is what happens when a program transgresses enough NCAA rules to deserve its own documentary. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Hurricanes’ violations ranged from a pay-for-play scandal to a UM academic adviser helping players defraud the federal government of Pell Grant money. When the NCAA was finished handing down its penalties, the Hurricanes had been banned from the postseason for a year and stripped of 31 scholarships from 1995 to 1997.For college football teams, scholarships are currency. There’s a clear relationship between a team’s recruiting success and its on-field performance, and in the wake of the sanctions, Miami was unable to recruit as effectively as it had during the early 1990s.2Although it bears mentioning that, even in a relatively “down” recruiting year like 1996, the Hurricanes still hauled in four of the nation’s 100 best recruits.But under Butch Davis, the Hurricanes had figured out how to rebuild. From creative accounting to get around the scholarship limits — Davis persuaded wide receiver Santana Moss (among others) to run track on scholarship for UM while walking onto the football team — to rummaging through the recruiting bin for undervalued prospects, Davis amassed a talent collection better than college football has ever seen before or since. If we judge the players by where they were drafted in the NFL, tally the expected future approximate value for players picked in that slot, add it up for each school by each historical draft class, and assign a weighted sum of the previous four years to each college team-season,3The weights, in this case, are 4-3-2-1, derived from what combination best predicts a team’s FPI rating for the season in question. So, for instance, Miami players accumulated 103 points of AV in the 2002 draft, 86 points in the 2003 draft, 115 points in the 2004 draft and 46 points in the 2005 draft. That means the weighted sum for the 2001 Hurricanes squad is 4 times 103, plus 3 times 86, plus 2 times 115, plus 46 — which equals 946 points, the highest total any college team posted since the first NFL/AFL common draft in 1967. the Miami teams built by Davis and eventually coached by his successor, Larry Coker, are in a universe unto themselves.The single most talented college roster of the past 48 years, according to this measure, was the fabled 2001 Miami Hurricanes, who went 12-0 and won the BCS title while posting one of the best point differentials (+395) of any national champion. Davis-built Miami teams in 2000 and 2002 also rank third and fourth, respectively.The Hurricanes turned their unprecedented collection of talent into a one-loss 2000 team (which media-poll voters thought should have played undefeated Oklahoma for the national championship instead of Florida State, whom Miami had beaten earlier in the season); a historically dominant, unbeaten national champion in 2001; and a 2002 squad whose sole loss came in double overtime of the BCS title game.“You could have taken that 2001 [Hurricanes] team and put them in the NFL,” former Hurricanes safety Antrel Rolle told Corben, “and without a doubt they would have made the playoffs.”It’s probably the closest such a sentiment has ever come to actually being true. Then again, as stacked as the Davis/Coker Hurricanes were in terms of skilled athletes, and as impressive as their 34-game winning streak4Which stretched between Sept. 23, 2000, and Jan. 3, 2003. was, it’s difficult to argue they would have torn up the pros when they barely cracked the top 10 in terms of the highest modified FPI ratings by college teams in the past three decades.Under Davis, the Hurricanes’ Elo rating peaked at +24.3 after they beat Florida, the AP Poll’s No. 7, 37-20 in the 2001 Sugar Bowl — Davis’s last game as UM’s coach before leaving for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. After Coker took the reins, Miami’s rating would grow to +29.0 after thumping Nebraska 37-14 in the 2002 Rose Bowl, and crested at +30.2 before the 2003 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.That mark represents the 10th-highest rating achieved by any team since 1982, but it trails entries from some of college football’s other most celebrated dynasties — including the 1990s Nebraska Cornhuskers, the 2000s USC Trojans, the 2008 Florida Gators, the 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide and even the 1988 Miami Hurricanes.There’s also the tricky matter of how the Hurricanes’ second golden era ended, marred by yet another scandal. While the program was ultimately assessed lighter penalties than it had received in the mid-1990s, in some ways that was due as much to the NCAA’s botched investigation as it was an absolution of Miami’s violations.And now the Hurricanes are back in the muck. But if there’s good news for Miami, Corben’s documentary underscores just how volatile this program has been over the past three decades. Of the top 18 FBS programs (by Elo rating) since 1982, Miami has by far the widest distribution of end-of-year Elo ratings.5In stats parlance, it has the largest standard deviation — 9.5 Elo points.In other words, the team tends to seesaw between greatness and mediocrity. And while life at “The U” has its peaks and valleys, if the story of Corben’s second Miami film is any indication, the next Hurricane dynasty might be just around the corner, no matter how bad things seem in the present. read more

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Princely visit to Bahamas today

first_img Defence Force Makes History With Public Service Award Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 03 Mar 2016 – The Bahamas today welcomes His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex at the Coral Harbour Base of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force. Magnetic Media will be there with cameras rolling. Watch for it on Turquoise Morning – PTV8 on Mondays and Thursdays at 7am and 4 News every weekday at 7am.The Prince, who is in The Bahamas to support the Duke of Edinburgh program in his capacity as its International Trustee and Chairman and for the Governor General Youth Awards, will arrive at the base for a ceremony at 12:30pm. Related Items:coral harbour base, earl of essex, prince edwanrd Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppcenter_img Recommended for you The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Annual Fun, Run or Walk Meetlast_img read more

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